Category: Announcements

5. Answering Terrorism

At the heart of Norway’s narrative of the July 22 terror attacks is the theme that Norwegians refused to let extremist views or terrorist violence change their humane values. Psychologist Renate Bugge began her presentation to the ACIA meeting with “two glimpses” from her own memories that reflect that narrative:


One of the mothers who had lost her child said, “If I should have lived in a country that could have foreseen every little detail that might be wrong, I would never have lived in that country because that would be a police state that I don’t want.” That is one testimony.


The other one: one day in the court in Oslo, I was in the room, seeing Breivik there. In the witness box was a tall, good-looking man with a high position in the Department of Justice. He had to be helped up to the stand. — he was nearly blind from the bomb explosion, he had a lot of internal damage. He described all his injuries, and he ended by saying, “For 40 years, I have been working in the criminal department and. I have always thought that every single man has to be treated with dignity. No matter who.” And he turned around, looked straight at Breivik and said, “I am proud that I am living in a country that can treat even the worst criminal with dignity, and I have not changed my mind.”


Three weeks after the terror attacks, the Norwegian government appointed an independent commission to study what had happened and to make recommendations for measures to prevent or respond more effectively to future threats. Exactly a year after its creation, on August 13, 2012, the 22 July Commission released its report to the nation. “Every day for a whole year,” the commissioners wrote in the opening paragraph, “we have worked together to find the answers to three key questions: What happened on 22 July? Why did it happen? And more fundamentally: How could our society have let this happen?”


Following are excerpts from the English version of the report: